Tuesday: The Flesh or the Spirit

“They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Rom. 8:5-6). Dwell on these texts. What basic message comes through from them? What do they say to you about the way in which you are living your life?


“After,” here, is used in the sense of “according to” (Greek kata). “Mind” here means to set the mind on. One group of people sets their minds on fulfilling natural desires; the other sets their minds on the things of the Spirit, to follow His dictates. Because the mind determines actions, the two groups live and act differently.

What is the carnal mind unable to do? Rom. 8:7-8.

To have one’s mind set on fulfilling the desires of the flesh is, in reality, to be in a state of enmity against God. One whose mind is thus set is unconcerned about doing the will of God. He or she even may be in rebellion against Him, openly flouting His law.

Paul wishes especially to emphasize that if you are apart from Christ, it is impossible to keep the law of God. Again and again Paul returns to this theme: no matter how hard one tries, apart from Christ one cannot obey the law.

Paul’s special purpose was to persuade the Jews that they needed more than their “Torah” (law). By their conduct they had shown that, in spite of having the divine revelation, they were guilty of the same sins of which the Gentiles were guilty (Romans chapter 2). The lesson of all this was that they needed the Messiah. Without Him they would be slaves of sin, unable to escape its dominion.

This was Paul’s answer to those Jews who couldn’t understand why what God had given them in the Old Testament was no longer enough for salvation. Paul admitted that what they had been doing was all good, but that they also needed to accept the Messiah who had now come.

Look at your past 24 hours. Were your deeds of the Spirit or of the flesh? What does your answer tell you about yourself? If of the flesh, what changes must you make, and how can you make them?

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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons